Sunday, May 29, 2011

Superstar Puppies!

On Saturday the puppies were part of a photo shoot for a new photo book that photographer Melissa McDaniels is currently touring the country and shooting photos for. Also participating in the shoot earlier in the day was Catty (known as Franny when she was in foster care) who was a mill breeder dog for 4 years before her Kentucky mill was shut down and she was rescued by New Rattitude.

Melissa has produced three photo books so far, Deaf Dogs, Rescued in America, and Pit Bulls (soon to be released) and is working on the Puppy Mill Photo Book which is planned to be released in early 2012.

The boys did pretty good thanks to lots of treats, peanut butter and an hour and a half time slot. Surprisingly Reuben, the most energetic of the pups and most skittish around people, did the best and stopped and showed his cute little worry wrinkles and tilted his head in the best, innocent puppy pose ever. I know you better, you little terror! You didn't fool me with your cuteness!! Alex did great too, showing off how well he could walk around on only his hind legs. Jasper and Hoagie were pretty concerned about the white paper that was the backdrop and kept walking "off set" to go hang out with their brothers which seemed a lot more interesting than a spot of crinkly paper where treats fell from the sky.

To learn more about Melissa McDaniel's Photo Book Project check out her blog or go to the Photo Book Project Website.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pupdate: Hoagie

The little man went to the vets today for x-rays. He was anesthetized, and several shots were taken of both legs to make sure the other leg didn't have any hairline fractures and his left broken leg is straight and has started to heal. Then he was splinted and good to go for 2 more weeks.

I got a call from the vet as I was tooling around Trader Joe's and am happy to say that Hoagie's bones are nice and straight and they can see new bone starting to grow in there so things are starting to knit back together. It was all I could do not to dance down the aisle.

I figured that he must be feeling a bit better. He is starting to use the splinted leg a bit during potty breaks, isn't sleeping as much and is VERY upset about being confined to his crate when what he really wants to do is wrestle with his brother and tear around. He tilts back his head and has an ear shredding howl that he lets out to make sure everyone is aware that he would like to be let out of his crate.

In this photo you see him trying to chew his way out although he's recently lost many of his baby teeth so it's more like he's gumming his way out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Broken puppies

It is with a sad heart that I announce that one of my 2 newly rescued pups has broken his leg. So far he is the 3rd puppy of the group of 15 that were rescued by New Rattitude to have a nearly spontaneous fracture like this so all the dogs are now on restrictions for movement.

The reasons for these breaks is likely a combination of things: malnourished mother providing their initial sustenance, bad nutrition after they were weaned, bad breeding practices causing genetic issues, and not being allowed to move around enough (tight crating) which is needed for the musculoskeletal system to develop properly.

They won't always be fragile though. The pups are just 4 months old and are now on top quality foods, supplements and will slowly be getting more and more exercise as their bodies are strong enough to handle it.

Send healing thoughts to young Hoagie who will be going to the vet tomorrow for his leg to be checked and resplinted. It was a pretty bad break of the radius and ulna and we are hoping that with limited exercise and the splint it will heal properly. Hoagie is NOT happy about having to be back in a crate and restricted from running and wrestling.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Holy puppies, Batman!

The puppies have arrived in WA and I've come up with an idea for a new comic book villain - it would be a pack of cute puppies. They lure unsuspecting victims in with their cuteness and just when there is no turning back, they throw their heads back, stun people motionless with a high, piercing screech and then shoot liquified, bacteria laden poop in their direction.

After a night of several trips out for potty breaks with 4 loud puppies I will be happy to take them all to the vet today for neutering. They deserve it and I hope it slows down their mouths a bit when I pick them up tonight.

Happily two pups, Alex and Jasper, biggest and smallest, will be heading to their foster homes tonight after I pick them up at the vets. Reuben (the most fearful) and Hoagie (the loudest) will stay on and hopefully start to settle in more so everyone can start getting a bit more sleep.

As expected the pups are wormy and one seems to have giardia but overall they seem phsically very healthy and their coats are fairly nice.

More news as they settle in.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Currently I'm in working with New Rattitude to arrange the transport of the next 4 dogs who will be fostered by 3 of our WA state foster homes. Typically we rescue dogs from shelters where they have reached the end of their hold time there and are scheduled to be euthanized. Sometimes we take owner surrender dogs so they can avoid a stint in a shelter they might not survive. These dogs we are taking in because they are overstock.

One of New Rattitude's Midwest state coordinators was contacted by a rescue group that specializes in rescuing dogs from large commercial breeders. The group gets these breeders, aka puppy mills, to surrender the "stock" that gets too old to be sold. Typically these dogs are killed but sometimes they will be released and this is one of those times.

So what does overstock typically look like? Most of the 15 plus dogs being released to New Rattitude are 12-16 weeks old so beyond the age that most stores want to buy. Also, females are more popular and can also be kept on as additional breeding stock so most overstock dogs are going to be male. Pretty sad right?

To learn the facts about puppy mills be sure to check out this document by the Humane Society of the United States. And spread the word. I'd like to think that most people out there, if they knew the reality of where store puppies came from, would turn to their local shelters and rescue groups when they choose to add to their family.

Pictured is Poppy, a former foster pup about the age (but likely much larger) than the 4 boys who will be arriving in WA in another week. We won't have photos of the new boys until the date that they are released.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hanging with rescuers

I'm back from my wild Rat Terrier Jamboree adventure and once more sighing in wonder at the energy and dedication that my eastern and southern rescuer friends put into New Rattitude. It's an emotional thing, rescuing dogs. You see a side of people sometimes that you really don't want to know about when you take a hurt and broken dog into your home. But Jamboree is a chance to see a side of the rescuers that you don't hear about. I see people who give more of themselves that I could ever give and watch in awe as they give some more.

Honestly, I can't be that unselfish. I know the line where I will go into overload zone and do my best not to cross it and to make sure that the volunteers that I work with don't cross it. But non-profits survive because of the folks that will always go a step further and I honor them for it, even if I can't be that person.

This year what I most took away from the Rat Terrier Jamboree, is that New Rattitude is made up of an incredible array of people: the touchy-feely people, the laid back, the uptight, the doers and the talkers, the easy going and the control freaks.... When focused on individually it can make a person a little crazy but mix it together and be amazed and the miracles that happen.

So I left feeling not so full of myself but also more clear about where my limits are. Also more clear is that I have a support system out there that, although a little irritated by me at times, they have my back. Once again I feel refueled for another year of rescuing little spotted dogs with attitudes.

Pictured is Nugget. Her mom is a rat terrier and dad was something a bit bigger. She has the most laid back temperament I've ever seen in a puppy and was the best girl ever at Jamboree. Even the old crabby dogs didn't seem to mind her goofy exuberance since she had good manners for a pup. Nugget is being fostered in Indianapolis. Here she's busy keeping her foster mom's seat warm for her.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Off to Tennessee

It's that time of year again! The annual Rat Terrier Jamboree is taking place in Sweetwater, Tennessee and NR's WA state adoption coordinator and I are flying to Atlanta and then making the 3 hour drive over to the tiny little town of Sweetwater. It's a beautiful area near the Smokies and should be wonderful to get a dose of sunshine after the long, wet, gray, fall-winter-spring that we are having. I'm prepping the guys on how to prepare dog meals in my absence and what constitutes "regular" potty breaks for them (dogs not guys). I'm sure that everyone will be fine as they managed the last couple years. Especially since Doc and Chicory are pretty easy as far as foster dogs go and they feel comfortable here so should manage fine. I'll be back in a few days with photos and tales of all the fun.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Doctor is in

Doc has been here with us in Western WA now for a few weeks and is doing great. While he can be a barker when he's excited, for the most part he's a pretty easy guy.

One thing we've discovered is that he LOVES belly rubs and snoozing next to people on the couch during any TV or book reading time. He really enjoys hanging out with his people. In fact he likes that more than playing with his tennis ball, which is saying a lot since her adores his tennis ball.

He would love a family of his own who has a fenced yard big enough for playing with a tennis ball and also who like to hike or go for runs, since Doc is always up for adventure.

So while he isn't perfect, I have to ask who's perfect? This guy gives 100% of himself to loving his human and having fun with him. He does have a little anxiety from being shifted around a lot but can you blame him?

Someone out there is going to get a heck of a partner when they discover Doc is waiting for them. He really is a sweet, goofball of a boy who needs someone willing to give him a chance and love him.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A little Chicory with your coffee?

Our newest foster girl has arrived from Texas and she is as sweet as can be. Chicory is 3 yrs old, about 13 pounds and although shy at first with people and new experiences she quickly learns things are safe. She is looking for a home without big dogs but wouldn't mind cats as long as they keep their distance. While she doesn't seem likely to chase small animals she definitely didn't trust the cat she was introduced to and barked a bit while backing away.

Chicory does great with Frodo and Tilly and would love to play more if they would only join in with her. While she does have great bite inhibition while playing she does tend to be somewhat "face-oriented" in her play so she needs to go to a home without young children.
We are working on house-training and it's going great but she will need a new family who is willing to reinforce her new learned skill with crate-training and not too much freedom to begin with while she is learning where the correct potty spots are.
You can't fully see them in this shot but Chicory's crowning glory are her radar dish-sized ears that are alert to everything. Most of the time both are fully up but when she is relaxed one will fold over a little bit - it's probably tiring keeping all that ear weight up! :)
Update: The weather has been horrible over the passes and we are still trying to get Doc over the mountains for his foster home transfer. The next time we will try for is this Saturday and if that doesn't work, Monday. Cross your paws!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Change in the pack

Lots of shifting around it happening right now but for good reasons - current fosters are going home and new fosters are being rescued. Skipper has found himself a marvelous home and left here this week for the comfy joy of being a spoiled only dog in Port Orchard. We miss the big goofball but are so happy that he found such a great home.

Remember Nimh? Well she has been back with us for a couple weeks of dogsitting while her new family was vacationing. We've enjoyed the little gal although I have a feeling she will be ready to go back to her new family on Tuesday where she can get more of the attention and worship she feels she deserves. Having to be one of a pack of 4-5 dogs is something she has determined to be beneath her now that she has moved on up to her new family. :)

The newest guy, Kermit, will be here until his foster spot at one of the other Federal Way foster homes opens up. We will miss him but have 2 other new dogs arriving and I'm sure that he will find the 2 dog foster home much calmer. He's very shy but will quickly warm up to people if they offer to give him cuddles. He also loves other dogs as long as they aren't too wild and has been having a blast with Nimh, Frodo and Tilly.

The weather hasn't been cooperating with our transport plans. Doc, who was in a foster home in Yakima, was scheduled to come to our house to be fostered today. However, Snoqualmie pass is bad and now we may need to wait another week for this energetic boy to join us. Doc loves to play and run and roughhouse which hasn't been a good fit for his Yakima foster home that has some delicate, elderly dogs. My goal is to do some training with him and help him center himself and his energy, all the while building up his confidence. This worked so well for Skipper and I know that it will help Doc as well.

Last but not least is a new girl who was spotted on a "last call" list for the Austin Texas shelter. She is a beautiful 1 1/2 year old girl who we will work to get transported over to Washington in the next week or two. The details are still being arranged but watch for info of this sweet girl soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rescue Drama: Saving #A1181170

One of my volunteers jobs for New Rattitude is to coordinate rescues of dogs to keep our Washington state foster spots full of rescues. The job is called a "state coordinator" and I spend time filing through our group's listings of urgent dogs around the country and deciding which dogs would be good fits for different foster homes and which I'll be able to get transported to Washington. Each home has a different make up of resident dogs and each foster parent has a mix of skills so I end up being a bit of a matchmaker.

Because I am constantly scanning through the photos and write ups about dogs that are very close to being killed, I've tried to learn to compartmentalize things and not think of how many dogs I can't save and just focus on the few that I can help. It's much easier said than done and sometimes a little face grabs my heart and I really want to save a specific dog, in spite of the reality of not having room for him or her.

Recently a little dog named Happy in Los Angeles caught my eye. I didn't rush because I thought he had more time before being euthanized, and I didn't really have a spot for him but I kept checking back, hoping I could pull him. When I finally had a spot that could take him I checked on him and his picture was no longer on the site. Panicking, I checked with a volunteer at the shelter and discovered that Happy had been euthanized because the shelter was really crowded and he hadn't shown well in the shelter setting. I was crushed and felt like his photo was burned into my skull. Knowing how fast stuff like this can pull a person under, I focused my frustration on saving another Los Angeles dog.

A1181170 was a young adult, male rat terrier west of Los Angeles. I wrote down his number, copied his photo and then set to digging through the bureaucracy that is the Los Angeles Animal Services to get this dog out. After 4 hours of networking with local rescuers and volunteers a plan was in place and the shelter was ready to release him. Little A1181170 was a shy guy. He had been surrendered with 5 other rat terriers and all of them were quickly adopted. He was returned for being too shy and after being returned was unlucky enough to come down with kennel cough. The stress of the shelter and a bad case of worms was wearing him down and the kennel cough turned into a serious upper respiratory infection. His chances of making it out of the shelter were getting slim without a rescue group's intervention. Everything worked out for this guy though and our volunteer transporter pulled him this morning and drove him straight to our temp foster mom's vet. As a thank you, little A1181170 covered her with boogery kisses and hugged her close, obviously relieved to be out.

In total 7 volunteers in California worked with me for 2 days to get this little guy to safety. He still has a long road ahead of him. This week he'll rest up and hopefully the antibiotics will start to do their magic. Next week an airline employee has volunteered to fly down to Southern California and carry him back to Seattle in cabin. He'll spend a few days with me and then will travel to his foster home in Yakima, WA where he can settle in for awhile and heal up while he awaits his forever home. And I am glad to say he is no longer #A1181170. He is now Kermit the Dog or Kermie for short.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fix the Ones You Love!

Updates on the current crew

First off we have to tell everyone the great news. Nimh has found a home of her own and she is doing great! She now lives in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle and is enjoying life as a city girl. Nimh has a rattie-chi sister that's even tinier than her and a 12 year old human sister who is really good at spoiling her. Congratulations Ms. Nimh on your new home.
The next news is on Skipper. We've continued working on training with him and he is doing great. He now spends most of his time upstairs in the living room hanging out with Frodo and although I can't say that they are best buddies, they do fine together. In the picture you see Skipper "uncorking" the squeakie wine bottle that he made quick work of. We're pleased to announce that Mr. Skippy has an application and his potential family is coming out tomorrow afternoon to meet him. Wish him luck - he'd sure love to have a family of his own.
Let's not forget Ms. Madeline. She continues to recover from her hip surgery, although she has had a little setback when something seemed to get pulled during her spay. We have her on an anti-inflammatory and some Tramadol for the pain and are hoping she will be 100% soon. Currently she has a couple people interested in her so we are just waiting and watching to make sure she will be healed up enough to head to a forever home.
Just a reminder - you can check out the latest on all the WA New Rattitude foster dogs over on Facebook - just look for the "New Rattitude - Washington State" community page. You should also "like" our National page while you're at it! Thanks everyone for your continued support!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yippy, Skippy!

Last time I posted Skipper was just starting to learn some basic commands and learning to focus on his humans a little more. Listening is still not his strong point but the "look at me" command has really helped me get his attention when he's getting excited about something. The result? Well Skipper is getting to spend time with the rest of the pack now.

Although he still doesn't quite understand that it's impolite to stare into another dogs eyes, he's really trying and has come a long way when interacting with the pack.

First we would take all the dogs except Skipper to the top floor of our tri-level and shut them in a bedroom. Then Skipper would get to spend time alone on the main floor (aka - the dog level) and get used to it enough so that it didn't get him overstimulated. It doesn't take much to get Skipper excited. Here's my interpretation of Skipper coming upstairs and checking out the dog toy basket: "OMG - HERE'S A FUZZY TENNIS BALL THAT SQUEAKS! And right next to it is ANOTHER FUZZY TENNIS BALL THAT DOESN'T SQUEAK!!! And OH MY GOD!!!!!! THIS TENNIS BALL DOESN'T HAVE ANY FUZZ BUT IT SQUEAKS LIKE THE FIRST ONE!!!! IT'S TOOOOO MUCH FOR ME. OMG!! OMG!! OMG!!!!!! ARROOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Get the picture? Skipper has a full appreciation for the little things in life. However, after about a minute of taking in everything in the room at full speed, he levels out and kicks back with one of the toys to chew on it. So once he's reached the calm level we started letting Frodo into the room. After a couple successful tries we let Frodo be in the room when Skipper first came upstairs. Since Skippy's been up here quite a bit now it's not quite so over the top exciting for him so we thought he was ready, and sure enough, it went great. Frodo mostly sat on the back of the couch looking worried and constantly trying to catch my eye as if to ask, "you realize there's a giant crazy dog in the room, right?"

So it was a big night for Skippy. He hung out, chewing on various antlers and squeakie balls for about 20 minutes before I took him back down to the rec room for some chill time. I see great things in this guy's future. He is so loving and goofy and fun and at just 7 1/2 years old he's got a lot of years left to give to some lucky human.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Skipper's journey

A lot has gone on in the last few months of Skipper's life that could upset a dog. He lost his owner who he'd lived with his entire life of nearly 8 years. He was then driven from his known home in Iowa to Chicago and the next day boarded on a plane and flown to Seattle, WA. He then spent some time with a family full of kids and pets and had trouble fitting in thanks to him not really understanding how to hang out with big dogs.

Add to all of this his Jack Russell genetics and you could have a mess on your hands. However, in spite of a few rough patches he is doing amazingly well. I've been watching him closely the short time he's been with us and one thing that I've noticed is that he gets overly excited in new situations and zones out his humans. He's so focused on whatever it is that has engaged him (barking dog upstairs, sound in the garage, bird outside the window...) that it's like he can't even hear me. Add to that the fact that he doesn't seem to have had much training beyond the "sit" command and you have a dog who isn't used to looking to humans for info.

When a dog gets overly worked up, even if it's a happy/nervous excitement like Skipper's, it can often lead to reactiveness. The dog is so fired up that what could just be a "hey, give me some space" bark from another dog can be interpreted as a "bring it on buddy, I wanna kick your butt!" Not a good thing.

My plan for Skipper is to start working on basic commands with him so it becomes an ingrained habit for him to look to humans for info on how to behave. I want him to be tuned into me enough so that if we are in a new environment I'll be able to talk with him and get him to focus on me and connect with me before he gets worked up. It's not that he's hyper or crazy, he's just easily overstimulated. I have to say, this guy was probably quite a handful at age 1 or 2 or even three, but at 7 he's just ready for fun and eager to please and interact with his humans.

So we've started with a "sit-stay" and he's worked from just a 1 second stay (I did say he was distractable) up to a full 10 seconds and that's with the dogs barking upstairs. He quickly learned "lay" from a sit position but that will need work for him to fully understand it without leading him into it. Most important, today we started doing a "look at me" exercise and a "touch it" exercise. Since I don't want to overload him with a bunch of new stuff I think we'll continue to work on the stay and the "look at me" commands since they are so important. The guy is so dang smart that he picks something up almost immediately and he's really praise motivated so we don't even need to use treats much - a good thing since he needs to lose a little weight.

Overall this is an amazing dog - house trained, loves kids, loves people, playful and great on leash. The skills he's learning now will help him be more comfortable in new situations and more in tune with the lucky human who welcomes him to their home.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WA's New Rattitude dogs on Facebook

New Rattitude has had it's own Facebook community for quite awhile, however, starting this week we decided to try something more locally focused. A community called New Rattitude - Washington State was created so we can try to network with local folks and spread the word about the dogs available and the adoption events that happen here in WA state for New Rattitude.

Come "like" our page and get updates on how current fosters are doing, new rescues arriving in our foster homes, and events that we'll be participating in with our dogs. We'll also try to tell you about local pet business that we love for being so rescue friendly.

So thanks in advance for spreading the word amongst your Facebook friends about our new page and helping us get the word out about some of the greatest dogs in the state!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome Skipper!

Skipper was at another foster home but developed a pack order issue with one of the resident dogs, a lab, which was causing problems with the 3 dogs at the home. So as of yesterday he joined our pack of fostered terriers and is proving to be a great dog.

This guy was on New Rattitude's urgent list as a Jack-Rat mix but when he was rescued and his paperwork was looked at we discovered he is actually a purebred Jack Russell Terrier. Now, I'll admit that typically I'm not especially fond of the JRT breed. To me they are a bit like rat terriers on crack cocaine - SOOOOO intense! And while Skippy is intense, he's also 7 years old so he's moved past his insane stage and mellowed out to an energetic and athletic, loveable guy.

So many pluses about this boy: extremely well house-trained, absolutely adores kids and every human that he's met, loves to play, walks well on a leash, and amazingly for his breed, he's not a barker.

Down sides: He loves cats and thinks they taste like chicken, and he has that combo of distractability and hyper-prey drive that is common in Jacks.

He loves snuggling and is doing well with his gradual introduction to our pack. So far he and Tilly and Madeline have met and all are tolerating each other well. Skippy would love to play with him but they are kind of overwhelmed by his size and excitement about playing. Frodo and he had a short intro tonight in the back yard that was positive so we'll keep working on getting them together. He does enjoy other small dogs, however his intense style of play can be a little much for them.

The fact is that at 7 years old this guy is acting and looking like a youngster. He weighs 28 pounds but could stand to lose about 3-4 pounds to get to a healthy weight. We are starting to get him out on daily walks and have cut his kibble back a bit so he's headed in the right direction. This would be the perfect hiking partner for someone (as long as he was kept on leash) or a great jogging/walking partner as well. If you know anyone who would love a Jack Russell but isn't up to those early years of Jack-style mayhem, then this smart, goofy, beautiful dog may be just the right guy for them.

The Prayer of St. Francis, This Year, Save One, Foster One, Rescue One Dog